More Strange, Less Familiar

“One of the dualities that has fascinated me all my life is how the past can be both utterly strange and startlingly familiar. I like to try to work with both of these in the novels, and to carry themes from one setting to another. So, for example, in “Children [of Earth and Sky”], the motif of how society curtails the scope for women to shape or control their own lives is present (as it was present) in both medieval China and Renaissance Europe…"

I love Guy Gavriel Kay, and this piece is a really nice interview. But I swear to freaking god, I am so tired of this “Well, gosh, the world was sexist in them old days, so I’m just striving for accuracy” apologist bullshit from way too many fantasy authors. You’re spending a year doing research to reinvent an entire historical period as the basis for your novel? Then shunt some of that imaginative process into coming up with ways to make that world more strange and less familiar by leaving the bullshit cultural baggage behind.